24 May 2016 City in the spotlight
A tour of London’s musical scene could take in Abbey Road; it could take in the Royal Opera House, or even Denmark Street’s music shops. But you’ve done that all before. We’re talking about grime. The organic scene popping off at the moment. It’s that music that your mum hates.
For this tour we’re bypassing the crowds of Zone 1 and hitting Zones 2, 3 and 4. We’ll be looking at some of the new stars of the city. Using the four points of the compass we’ll tour around the city, stopping in on grime stars who‘ve really made a name for themselves.
This is the home of the undisputed grime king of the moment, Skepta. This man is reigning supreme. Lost to that murky world of electro grime or dancey grime, he came back with That’s Not Me, a stripped back, singular track that was about turning his back on the flashy life the electro grime brought him.
His brother JME is also doing pretty well (he’s the other guy in the That’s Not Me vid). Both members of Boy Better Know, JME and Skepta are leading the charge.
It’s the spiritual home of grime. We’d be here weeks listing everyone that comes out of East. We’ll stick to the big dogs.
Wiley, the originator, the godfather of grime is a Bow boy. When he started making grime it wasn’t even called grime, as he so eloquently let the world know in ‘Wot U Call It’.
His genre-defining sound is best experienced through Eskimo
No grime tour could be complete without a mention of Dizzee Rascal, another good old Bow boy, stay in our Old Street hotel to experience the area to its fullest. He is the one artist who can truly be described as crossing over (some may call it selling out). He went from making music like this:
To making music like this:
Overlooked in the past as a sort of black hole. That has changed in a big way. Two of grime’s young upstarts hail from south of the river. Novelist, and his crew The Square come from Lewisham, more particularly Brockley.
He made his name from Take Time, a collaboration with Mumdance.
But the real star of South at the moment, and two-time MOBO award winner Stormzy, is setting the world on fire. He has an Apple Music channel called #MERKY and dominated 2015 with his track Shut Up.
His new track, Scary is a little darker and, you guessed it, scarier.
West London is another oddly barren grime landscape. Bashy is a Hammersmith boy with a social conscience. The former postman and bus driver, rose to fame with his song Black Boys:
The song was in response to spiralling knife and gun crime in the capital, and media claims that there were no black role models to deter young black men from a life of crime. A claim he disagreed with.
His fame was solidified when he wrote the theme song for Adulthood, the song was entitled Kidulthood to Adulthood.
We knew Birmingham was on the cusp of big change when we finally arrived at its new train station. Yes, when Grand Central opened in 2015 and transformed an embarrassing old New Street station into somewhere visitors wouldn't mind spending more than ten minutes in, we knew things were getting better for the UK’s second city. I also wanted to take the family to the Balti capital of the UK… but more of that later.
Manchester has a rep within the UK for being an incredibly cool, and dare I say it, ‘hip’ city. With a buzzing night life, a huge number of amazing restaurants and bars, and a thriving arts scene, Manchester is the ideal place to spend a weekend away.
May 2017 | City in the spotlight
While Glasgow’s festivals often get overshadowed by the hype around the massive and iconic Edinburgh Fringe Festival, there are absolutely loads of incredible festivals held throughout the city across the summer months. From the huge community Went End Festival covering theatre, dance, art and everything in between, to the techno extravaganza that is Riverside Festival, there is an event guaranteed to tempt all away from the beaten Edinburgh track…